Prevalence of worm infestation higher Indians: IMA
More than one billion people are infested with round worms worldwide. The prevalence is higher in India.
Worm infestation occurs when worms live as parasitic adults in the human gastrointestinal tract. Worms that infect humans can be divided into three groups: Roundworms, whipworms, hookworms.
A patient with a mild infection may not show any symptom. However, some may experience itching around the anal area especially at night when the female worm deposits eggs in the perianal region. Other symptoms include poor appetite which leads to weight loss, stomach discomfort, restless sleep and inability to concentrate. A worm passed with a stool may also be discovered by the patient.
The most common route of transmission for worm infestation is the anus-to-mouth route. This is because eggs are often found under the fingernails of the infected person who has scratched the anal area. When the infected person uses the contaminated fingers to handle and ingest food, the eggs are transferred directly from the anus to the mouth.
Speaking about the same, Dr SS Agarwal - National President IMA and Padma Shri Awardee Dr KK Aggarwal - Honorary Secretary General IMA and President Heart Care Foundation of India said, "There are various ways in which worm infestation can be prevented. It is important that preventive awareness is raised to avoid disease and suffering in the future. One can prevent worm infestation by drinking safe and clean water, ensuring that food is cooked in a clean and hygienic fashion, washing hands regularly particularly after bowel movement and before eating and avoiding nail biting. Mass treatment with a single dose of deworming tablet every 2–3 months for school children is recommended."
A few important facts about worm infestation and its treatment
- Adult worms live in the lumen of small intestine.
- The female worm produces fertilized eggs much faster in the stool.
- The eggs prefer warm, shady, moist conditions where they can survive for five years.
- The eggs hatch in the small intestine within days of consumption of contaminated food or water and release larvae every minute in the next 10 days.
- Most worms are asymptomatic.
- During migration in the lung, a patient may have asthma–like attack.
- High burden of worms in the intestine can cause nutritional deficiency.
- Heavy infection can also cause nutritional obstruction.
- Eggs do not appear in the stool for at least 40 days after infection.
- Treatment is deworming tablets.
- Deworming is not good when a lung infection is suspected.
- Deworming tablet can be given in a single dose.